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Three Minutes With: Nashville head coach Barry Trotz…

This is the tenth in a multi-part series leading up to the 2010-11 regular season.


To help bridge the gap between now and the regular season, we will be doing a series called Three Minutes With. Every installment will be with a different member of the Nashville Predators family. Could be players. Could be coaches. Could even be fans.

In the tenth installment we have the only head coach the Nashville Predators franchise has ever know, Barry Trotz. Barry spoke with recently about the difficult decisions he has ahead of him in training camp, the back-up goaltending position and, of course, the dirty hit on prospect Linus Klasen at the rookie games in Florida this past week.

Jeremy K. Gover: As the head coach that has to call the shots, would you say you’re completely confident if you have to go into the season with a back-up goalie who hasn’t seen a single minute of NHL action?
Barry Trotz: Well, I am. I’d be lying if I said “yeah, I’m totally confident,” no. I have a lot of trust in our ability to develop goaltenders and I have a lot of trust in the ability of Mitch Korn who is our goaltending coach. I like our goaltenders. They’re big, athletic kids and you can do a lot with that. They’re great putty right now and hopefully Mitch can mold them and turn them into good goaltenders. We’ve done a really good job in that area, you just have to look around the National Hockey League for guys that have developed in Nashville at the goaltender position. So, not totally confident but confident enough that I’m not that worried about it.

JG: Do you have any comment about Chris Clackson’s dirty hit on Klasen during the rookie games in Florida?
BT: Well, I saw it on YouTube. It was a late hit. That’s exactly what the NHL’s trying to get out, head shots. With the shoulder and anything that’s at the head is fundamentally a real tough thing right now. Or even if it’s a shot to the knee. Those two areas are being targeted by the NHL and, to me, that was a late hit. It was dangerous on the part of the Florida Panther player doing that but it was also dangerous on the part of our player, not realizing that cutting across the middle like that, you’re going to get hit. The game has changed, guys are tracking you down and you can get hurt if you cut to the middle and are not real aware. (Klasen) lost some awareness there and there was a little bit of a late hit.

JG: Do you think that’s just a product of the two different styles, between the NHL and Europe?
BT: Well, I think in Europe, it’s a little less physical. We use the term tracking in the National Hockey League and guys come back in numbers and herds and, if you get in the middle of the pack, that herd can run you over sometimes and that’s really what happened on that play that Klasen got hit.

JG: Lastly, there are going to be some real battles at the bottom of the forward depth chart and, of course, the bottom defensive pairing. That’s not to mention the back-up goaltender position. Is there any competition that you’re especially looking forward to?
BT: Well, I’m really excited about all of them but I really think the toughest decision, for me, is going to be at the forward position. We’re really deep on the wings and we’re deep at center. There’s a number of players that, if they have a good camp, just might start here. Every year we find the Joel Ward, the Danny Ellis, you know, a guy that you didn’t expect to be on your hockey team but earns his right to at least start with your hockey team and I see that happening again.

JG: Thank you.
BT: Yeah.